I purchased the Cambridge Soundworks M 60s as a "B" set of speakers so that I would have sound in other areas of my house. I had already purchased computer speakers and a subwoofer from Cambridge Soundworks, so I trust the reputation of this company. Henry Kloss, the founder, used to work for Advent, and my first pair of speakers were Advent Legacies. I originally wrote this review last year, and realize that its in serious need of an update. Two reasons, one my original review 'helpful' but thats about it, two, I have the M-60s now as main speakers in my bedroom home theater system. They are powered by a Denon 1905 that gives the speakers the power they deserve.
Recommend this product?
The M 60s are a mid price point for the bookshelf line of speakers from Cambridge Soundworks. The M-50s are small two way speakers with a smaller box, smaller woofer, and less bass response. The M-80s are a larger 3 way speaker with a larger woofer and lower base response.
The M 60s are attractive looking, with a maple or cherrywood finish (the picture shown on epinions doesn't do them justice, thats the flat slate finish) and removable grill clothes. Even under the grills these are sexy looking speakers. They are a two way speaker with a 6.5" woofer/midrange and a silk done tweeter. These are a good, solid smooth sounding bookshelf speaker. I wouldn't use these as the main speakers for a dedicated two channel system or a high volume large room home theater because the bass response isn't that low. They go down to 65 Hz, low enough to hear bass, but nothing that will shake your room. However, for a small bookshelf speaker the bass response seems surprisingly low, and these speakers have a full rich sound. They certainly don't have the tinny bright sound that I dislike about many "satellite" style speakers. The low bass rolls off naturally, and you never get the sense that you are missing the low end, because these speakers sound so natural.
Tech Specs The M-60s are bass reflex style speakers with ports in the rear. They have frequency response of 65 Hz to 22 kHz. Nominal power is 10 watts, and they can handle 125 watts. These are standard 8 ohm speakers and have sensitivity of 88 dB. (for non techies, that means they will sound pretty loud with most receivers, and don't have any special power requirements) They are magnetically sheilded so they are safe for use near TVs or computers. The speakers use gold plated binding posts that will accept wire or banana clips. They are not set up for bi-wiring. Each speaker weighs 14 pounds.
Excerpt from my original review
[updates are in brackets like these]
The M-60s have now found a permanent home in my living room audio / video surround system as the right and left rear surround speakers. [They are now the left and right in my bedroom home theater] They offer a very full rich sound for all the rear stage action of any big budget movie. In fact, while viewing Master and Commander, when cannon fire destroyed parts of Russell Crowe's ship in the surround channels, I swore that cabinets in my kitchen had all crashed to the floor. The M-60s also more than adequately perform as 2 of the channels for any 6 channel source. Few DVD Audio players/SACD players have active bass management, which means that low frequencies from any channel are NOT routed to the subwoofer. I have a Pioneer Elite 47A, that although an outstanding DVD audio/SACD player, does not have active bass management. However, in listening to several DVD-Audios and SACDs which had drum or bass tracks in the rear surrounds, the M-60s sounded great. The bass was nice and punchy, and not the least bit muddy. Shutting my eyes, sound fills the room smoothly. My sound stage has the M-60s in the rear, Advent Legacies for front left and right (an old two way speaker with 10 inch woofers), Cambridge Soundworks CenterStage Center channel and the 8S Cambridge Soundworks subwoofer.
My updated thoughts on the M-60s
First, now my M-60s are in my bedroom as the main left and right speakers. I still use the Cambridge Soundworks Centerstage as my center, and the Cambridge Soundworks 8S subwoofer (a 50 watt powered sub with an 8 inch woofer, not too powerful, but brings out lower bass) I use a Denon AVR-1905 7.1 surround sound receiver (80 real watts per channel). The Denon makes the speakers sound far better than the '100" watt Kenwood Surround sound receiver I previously had, and thus easier to review! My previous review stated that these sound good for home theater, and they still do, you just need a good sub (better than the 8S bass cube) if you want to shake the house and feel bass. I'd like to add how musical these are.
Music For starters, I popped in The Clash - London Calling when I first got my Denon Receiver. I heard whole new sounds pouring out of my M-60s. The guitar slammed into me, the vocals had punch This is London Calling, yeah I was there too! London Calling, you know some of it was True! Wow! I didn't know these could sound so good. I put in some bossa nova Gilberto / Getz (stereo SACD). Astrud Gilberto's voice sounded smooth and natural, and the gentle rhythms of the jazz guitar and bass sounded rich and full. I then put in Diana Krall - Only Trust Your Heart on CD. Diana's voice and the saxaphone sounded great. So does the stand up bass. Only the drums seemed a bit lacking, not in sound but in feel. For classical I threw in Vivaldi the Four Seasons with Anne Sophie Mutter on DVD-Audio and selected the stereo track. Spring sounded great. The violins were all clearly defined and sounded quite good. I then tested Jim Morrison - An American Prayer because Morrison has a deep rich voice good for speaker testing. Although Jim sounded great, the combination of high quality speakers and a high quality receiver brought out the underlying hiss of the CD before revealing any imperfections of the speakers. I put on my recently acquired Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms DVD-Audio and selected the 48 kHz 24 bit LPCM stereo track. All I can say is wow. The DVD-Audio of Brothers in Arms is sonic perfection. As I turned up the volume on different songs, I was astonished, the M-60s just don't break up. They sound as rich and natural at high volumes as they do at low volumes. Bass was very well defined in the songs even at high volumes. The biggest difference I heard from more powerful speakers was the lack of the lowest end of bass, and the feel of that low end bass.
Music with Subwoofer For the heck of it, I flipped my Dire Straits CD/DVD over, and played the same songs in stereo. With the Denon processor direct will play only the left and right channel. SACD in stereo also directs music to only 2 channels. All the above tests had the Denon Receiver in direct mode, so it was purely a test of the speakers. In stereo, the Denon actually uses 2.1 channels and sends the frequencies below 100 Hz to the subwoofer. Now I could feel the bass. The CS M-60s blend seamlessly with the CS 8S BassCube. There was the needed boost to the low end.
Speaker Talk Speakers can be described as bright, tinny, boomy, muddy etc. I really can't tell you that these were any of those. That is a good thing. Bright tends to mean an exaggeration of the upper frequencies. Tinny means you have Bose cubes or some other no lows speakers. Boomy is exaggerated lows, and muddy is poor performance in the low frequencies. Seriously, the M-60s are a natural sounding speaker that sounded as good with rock as they did with jazz and classical. Imaging is very good, the two speakers create a vibrant sound stage that sounds like its spread out in front of you, and not eminating from two boxes.
Summary These are outstanding bookshelf speakers. I liked them even better than the larger more expensive M-80s, because the bass sounded tighter and more defined from the M-60s. I would highly recommend them. If you aren't happy with the bass, pairing them up with a good quality subwoofer will give you a good all around musical experience.
Amount Paid (US$): 299 pair